5 Vikings with the Most to Lose in 2023

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The Minnesota Vikings set sail on 2023 hoping to maintain some semblance of the 13-4 record that stunned fans in Kevin O’Connell’s maiden voyage.

So far this offseason, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah retained 13 existing free agents, watched as nine departed to new teams, onboarded eight free agent newcomers, and selected six men in the 2023 NFL Draft. After the draft, he welcomed 17 undrafted free agents and traded Za’Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns.

5 Vikings with the Most to Lose in 2023

Less than four months before the regular season begins, these are five Vikings players with the most to lose in 2023, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most to lose).

5. Andrew Booth (CB)

the Most to Lose
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Booth’s career certainly wouldn’t be over if he fired up a poor or injury-riddled sophomore season, but he wouldn’t be trusted as a starter heading into 2024 if those items occurred. Ho-hum performance and a litany of injuries beset his rookie season, so 2023 is a tell-all campaign for the former 2nd-Rounder.

He must win a starting job, stay healthy, and perform decently for the 2023 Vikings. Otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board at CB for Minnesota in next year’s draft. Booth would start to emulate former Vikings CB Mike Hughes.

4. Jalen Reagor (WR)

Vikings 2022 Trade
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This gentleman may not make it to the Vikings opening-day roster.

Minnesota signed Brandon Powell in March, potentially starting a ticking clock on Reagor’s time with the Vikings. His prove-it period begins at training camp, whereas most on the list probably have the regular season to make their cases.

Reagor’s 2022 performance in Minnesota was an unabashed meh, netting 8 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Of all 31 NFLers who returned 15+ punts in 2022, Reagor’s 6.4 yards per return ranked 31st in the league.

Powell could steal his job as early as August, and Reagor’s career will teeter on a bust fulcrum. Of course, he can change that prognosis with a dynamic summer and fourth season.

3. Ed Ingram (RG)

PurplePTSD: Old Viking to Dolphins, Ed Ingram Momentum, MIN-LV Winners and Losers
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Minus the injury part, you might as well scroll up and read the spiel about Andrew Booth. It applies to Ingram, too.

Thankfully for Ingram’s sake, the LSU alumnus was durable in 2022, playing all 17 games. He just wasn’t very productive as a rookie. His saving grace was his improvement as the season wore on.

However, if Ingram plays exactly how he did in 2022 during his second year as a pro, Adofo-Mensah will be guard-shopping in free agency next March or the 2024 NFL Draft. Rookies deserve time to develop, and Ingram could show up this September and look dominant. If he doesn’t, though, enthusiasm on his 2nd-Round draft stock from last year will plunge.

2. Greg Joseph (K)

Vikings Fans Offer
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You’d think the man who drilled five game-winning field goals in a season would avoid a list like this. But nope. Joseph did one thing really, really well last year — win ballgames for the Vikings.

Still, before the game was on the line — so, you know, like the first 58 minutes, Joseph was not a kicking savant. Here’s why:

Greg Joseph,
NFL Rankings,
in 2022:

Game-Winning Field Goals = 1st
FG Conv % = 28th
Extra Point Conv % = 31st

The bottom two metrics must improve, or the Vikings will try finding a kicker who can ‘do both’ after 2023 — hit clutch field goals and extra points + mundane field goals. Such kickers are out there. Ask the Baltimore Ravens or Las Vegas Raiders.

1. K.J. Osborn (WR)

The Draft Solved 3
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The granddaddy of them all for this list, Osborn must do two things in 2022.

First, he has to fend off rookie Jordan Addison for a WR2 job. If he does that, it’ll mean Osborn is the real deal as a WR2. Adam Thielen left for the Carolina Panthers in March, and Osborn probably thought he was next in line as Justin Jefferson’s running mate. Then Addison came along, and 1st-Round wide receivers don’t really ‘watch and learn’ anymore in their first season.

Second, if Osborn wrestles the WR2 job away from Addison — or even if he doesn’t — 2023 is the final year of his rookie contract. He must produce alongside Jefferson, Addison, and tight end T.J. Hockeson to ensure a plentiful next-contact with the Vikings or another NFL team. Quasi-productive WRs command fat free-agent contracts, so Osborn must put stats on paper this season.

No player has more to lose — or gain — than Osborn on the Vikings 2023 roster.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.